Tag Archives: customer service

This and that

No, honey, that smoke detector is not a kitchen timer.

 Earlier this week, Mrs. Poolman made us tacos for dinner. This is usually a fairly easy, mistake-proof meal. Not this time. Rather than heating the taco shells in the oven, like we normally do, Mrs. P decided heat them in the microwave.

 “What is that smoke I smell?”

I pulled the taco shells, that were “spooned” together, out of the microwave. They were still combusting! I stuck them in the sink and hit them with the dish sprayer. A large cloud of steam later, the “blaze” was extinguished. I’ve heard of hot Tex-mex food, but really!

 We always have soft tortillas around, so we just had soft tacos that night.

 Actually, this just makes us even. A few weeks ago I saute’d some tilapia for dinner. I used a new spice mix, not knowing it was heavily salt-based. The fish filets were virtually inedible. I’m not a great cook, but usually my meals at least can be eaten. Not that night.

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I understand the reason behind Amber alerts. But is it really necessary to send the same alert out to my phone every few minutes all night? The other night, my phone was hopping with an Amber alert from Tampa, more than 300 miles away. I had to turn the phone off just so I could get some sleep. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose? Duh.

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It’s tough running a small business, but sometimes when I see how some businesses treat their customers, I don’t understand how they can keep their doors open at all. Last December, we contacted a local pest control company about some unwanted pests in our attic. We called this company because they handle other termite inspections and because someone close to us works for them. The pest control guy came out for an inspection a few days later and said he would be back the next week to seal off the attic and set some traps. Two months later, we hadn’t heard back from the guy. When we finally reached him, he confessed he “forgot.”

 So he sent one of his minions out to seal off all entrances to the attic, but he had forgotten to bring the traps.

 “No problem, I’ll be back on Thursday to set the traps.”

 Of course, he never came. Meanwhile, we got a bill for the incomplete service.

 After continuing to hound than, we finally got the rodent boy to come back out last week and set his traps — four months after we initially called. He is supposed to come back this week to collect whatever (hopefully nothing) that has been caught. We’ll see.

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And speaking of unhappy experiences with local merchants, we took Sammie the dog and Sid the Tailless cat to a groomer this weekend to be trimmed a little. Both are long-haired and desperately needed it. We went to a groomer we had not used before. I don’t know what the groomer was thinking. Sammie was cut down fairly close. Sid was practically shaved.

Sid the Hairless (as well as tailless)

Sid the Hairless (as well as tailless)

He looks like a little piglet with the head of a lion. Poor thing. Fortunately, Sid doesn’t really seem to care how funny he looks. His “sister” Penny, however is another story. She has been hissing at him ever since he got home yesterday afternoon. Quite the critic she is. Fortunately, Sid is an inside cat, so sunburn won’t be a problem. Otherwise…

I don’t think we’ll be using that groomer again. Duh.


Procrastination wins in the end

I had a very pleasant surprise over the past couple of days. I had an occasion to contact a company’s customer service department, fully expecting to be shut down. Instead, I received prompt and effective information. Here’s the kicker; the brand went out of business two years ago!

Three years ago, Mrs. P and I had our master bathroom remodeled. The work was done by our all-around handy-man who is an amazing story himself. The one step he did not complete was the doors on the under-vanity cabinets.  He ordered the doors, but they would not be delivered until after the rest of the job was complete. Although he offered to come back to paint and install the doors, we told him we could handle it.

Well procrastination is our middle name. The doors arrived in June 2008, but they have sat, untouched and unopened in their shipping box until this past weekend.  Mrs. P painted them. I took a look at the hinges that came in the package. I could easily see how they connected to the doors, but I couldn’t figure out how they connected to the frame. No instructions were included.

Two of the mystery hinges

When I Googled the manufacturer, I discovered the company has been out of business since 2009. They still maintained a Web page and an email address for warranty concerns. I sent them an email. I also discovered through that email that the division was part of a larger company that was still in business. So I went to one of the other brands and send them an email also.

I really didn’t think I was going to get anything out of them, so I was very surprised when I received two emails and a phone call today, resulting from each of my emails. They sent me a diagram and installation instructions.

So a big “attaboy” to Meagan and Debbie at Masco Cabinetry Company. Thanks for your help!

A mostly good customer service experience

We have had an interesting, and, perhaps surprisingly, mostly pleasant encounter with customer service over the past week or so. That doesn’t seem to happen very often so it’s worth a mention.

In the fall of 2006, we purchased a 55” Sony DLP projection HD TV. The truth to be told, I felt very guilty about it at the time, but that wore off after watching a few football games in HD. When we bought it, we also purchased an extended warranty, something we almost never do. However, the sales guy pointed our that there is one part in the tv, the projection lamp, that burns out after between three and four years. The cost of the warranty would be about the same as the cost of the projection lamp, plus you get the additional protection for four years.

As expected, about two weeks ago, at three and a half years of age, we started getting a warning message that the projection lamp needed to be replaced. Mrs. Poolman called the store where we bought it, “BB,” and after a few handoffs got to the person who could solve the problem. Even though we couldn’t find our warranty papers, we were in the computer system and the woman told Mrs. P they would ship the lamp the same day and it would arrive later in the week. The rest of the conversation went something like this.

Mrs. P: “You are shipping it to the store. Right?”

Customer Service: “No, we are shipping it to your house.”

Mrs. P: “Well, what are we supposed to do with it?”

Customer Service (in a voice like she was talking to a moron): “Well, you install it, you stupid twit.”

Mrs. P: “Oh. Is that something we can do.”

Customer Service: “Yes. I can’t believe you are smart enough to have actually dialed a phone.”

As it turns out, the projector lamp came with a set of directions, and installing it is about as easy as changing an ink cartridge in a printer. How difficult would it have been for the CS rep to have simply said, “Yes, actually it’s real simple. There are directions in the package. You shouldn’t have any problem, but if you do here is a number to call.”

That did raise an interesting question. If you didn’t know that, how would you know? Repairing HD TVs is not usually something we do every day.  I got to thinking about it.

An old style TV – Never ever open it up unless you know what you are doing.

New projector HDTV – The key part is user accessible and easy to replace.

A standard desk top computer – Sure, open it up and change out memory, drives, etc. No problem.

Laptop computer – Probably not a good idea.

And so on.

Meanwhile, when we turned on the TV, we saw that there was a problem with the picture. There were bars of color at the top and bottom of the screen. Another call to customer service produced a repair guy visiting our home, still under warranty.

Fortunately, the guy took one look at the TV and said, “Yep, I know exactly what that is. You need a new optic block (whatever that is). I’ll order one and come back to install it when it gets in next week. And oh yes, it’s still under warranty. By the way, when I get done with that you are going to practically have a new TV. It’s going to look great.”

The guy comes back to complete the repair on Friday.

So the process isn’t complete, but so far, except for the somewhat condescending customer service rep, this has worked out well. We certainly got our money out of that extended warranty.

I almost feel a little guilty.

I think I’ll get over it. Football season is just a few months away.

What were you thinking?

Two incidents over the past 24 hours have caused me to think, as I frequently do, “What is that person thinking?”

The first was yesterday afternoon. I used my lunch break to have the oil changed in my car at one of those “while you wait” shops. I told the guy who met me at the car that I needed an oil change and to rotate the tires. He told me that they no longer offer the tire rotation service. I went ahead and got the oil change anyway, but it got me to thinking. “Why would they discontinue that service?” I need to have the tires rotated every ten to 12 thousand miles. The easiest thing is to have it done at the same time as an oil change – two simple and quick, but needed services in one stop.

So what is going to happen is this. I’ll need to find someone else to rotate the tires. (I could do it myself, but who wants to hassle with that? I don’t have a rack and a pneumatic lug wrench.) I’ll probably find someone who will also do an oil change at the same time because I don’t want to have to make two separate adventures out of this if I can avoid it. The end result – my original guy has lost an otherwise happy, loyal and regular customer.  Dumb a**.

I made a quick stop at Publix (grocery store) on the way to work this morning to pick up some breakfast bars and a tomato to go with my salad-lunch. As I pulled into a slot in the parking lot, I noticed that already, first thing in the morning, there were grocery carts left in the parking slots. Cart-BlogThis is a minor annoyance, I know, but it still rubs me just a little. How lazy can a person be that they cannot take their empty cart maybe ten or 15 steps to the cart corral? In the case of the cart that I adjusted my parking to avoid, the corral was just across the aisle. At this Publix, there is really no excuse. They offer free bag-service, just for the asking.

“Thank you for your offer to take my bags to my car, but it won’t be necessary. I’ll just leave my cart in one of the parking spaces.  Other shoppers won’t mind. They’ll understand I’m special.”